Thursday, April 15, 2010

Heed the headcount

Posted on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:00 AM

With two or three reminders about filling out your census forms coming to a mailbox near you, people seem to forget that this is nothing more than a headcount, and not an information gathering drive collecting data on all Americans.

The U.S. Constitution provides for this headcount every 10 years. Libertari-an National Chairman Bill Redpath points out, “There is no need for Congress to collect additional information such as names, races, ages, sexes, or home ownership status. Unfortunately, the federal government wants to use the additional information to fine tune its control over the lives and money of the American people”. The only question of the 10 questions on the form that matters is the first one: How many people live at this residence?

By law all information collected by the Census Bureau is supposed to be kept private, but our government never follows its laws anyway. David Kopel of the libertarian Cato Institute pointed out that during World War I the Census Bureau handed over lists of names and addresses so the federal government could search for draft resisters. And, shockingly, during World War II, the Census Bureau told the Justice Department which neighborhoods had high concentrations of Japanese-Americans. The federal government then used that information to find Japanese-Americans and imprison them in concentration camps. I’m sure there are other examples as well.

A simple headcount doesn’t need 10 questions or cost us $14 billion. Isn’t it time for a change?

Mike Fellows

Montana Libertarian Party

Missoula

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